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AppDate: Windows 10 devices get more social

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In this AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Facebook, Messenger and Instagram for Windows 10, Soundcloud Go for South Africa, Anti-Ad from Kaspersky Lab, Friendbase virtual chat and JustWatch streaming search engine.

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram for Windows 10

The new Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps for Windows 10 devices are designed to take advantage of the operating system’s Live Tiles. This means, that once a user pins an app to the Home screen, updates and news feeds are immediately available without having to open each app individually. In addition, the Instagram app now offers direct messaging, an updated search and explore function, and easy account switching.

Platform: Windows 10 phones and tablets

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Windows Store from a Windows 10 device.

 

Soundcloud Go in South Africa

As with many video and music on demand services, a lot of the content is not available in South Africa due to licensing issues – the latest being Soundcloud Go. The service offers an expanded musical catalogue due to licensing deals with Warner, Universal and Sony, as well as tracks from 20,000 independent labels – many of which are not available in South Africa. However, virtual private network provider (VPN) NordVPN now allows South Africans to access the songs by installing the VPN before signing up for the Soundcloud Go service. Incidentally, NordVPN also allows South Africans to access the full Netflix range of movies and series by performing a similar setup.

Platform: Most smartphones and tablets as well as desktop and laptops.

Expect to pay: NordVPN is a free download, but subscribing to Soundcloud Go will cost around R150 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device to download NordVPN and then sign up for Soundcloud Go.

 

Anti-Ad from Kaspersky Lab

Anti-Ad from Kaspersky Lab is a free extension for iPhone users for Safari. It automatically blocks the advertising banners, links and popup windows that infuriate most users . The extension can be customised to allow certain adverts to display and, if need be, the extension can be completely disabled should one want to see the entire page.

Platform: Most iOS device running iOS 9 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the App Store for downloading instructions.

 

Friendbase virtual chat

Friendbase virtual chat allows one to connect with friends and family around the world. Nothing new there, but it does make chatting a little more interesting as it allows users to customise their chat room’s look and feel. One can also add pets, and challenge friends to multiplayer games like tennis. The chat room can be navigated, meaning once an avatar has been chosen, it can be directed around the room.

Platform: Android, iOS and Facebook play.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

JustWatch streaming search engine

With all the VoD services currently available and new ones being added every day, it starts to become a little difficult to find certain shows. JustWatch makes things a little easier as it allows one to search across multiple VoD providers from a single search bar. JustWatch is able to search Netflix, Showmax, BoxOffice, iTunes and Mubi – with other providers like Google Play being added shortly.

Platform: Android and iOS.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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